It’s that time of year again! Baseball is now going to be a huge part of our lives for the next few months. I couldn’t be happier. Of course, all of those practices and weird game times can mean that we end up grabbing fast food in town if I don’t plan ahead. There’s nothing wrong, of course, with grabbing a burger after practice or before a game, but doing that on a regular basis can create total chaos in the budget, especially at the end of the month.
The first step, for me, when I plan our weekly menus, is to take a good look at the calendar. What days will we all be home for dinner? What days will dinner have to be early? What days will it have to be late? Does anyone have to be at church in the evening during the week? How about Bible study? What days will I be in town in the afternoon, and would that be a good day to use the slow cooker? Throwing baseball practices, and soon games, into that mix keeps me on my toes.
This week is especially busy. Will has his first practices with his new team (in a new town and a new league) Wednesday and Thursday, we have guests coming for a midday/late brunch meal on Monday, Copper is working on call three days this week, and all of us have appointments in town during the week (but all on different days!). It’s weeks like this that I rely, heavily, on my menu plan. I don’t need to worry about what I’m making for dinner, or even breakfast, because it’s already written down. I’m also making sure that we use up all of our left overs by serving them for lunch. Not only does this mean less waste, it also insures that my still growing ball player is getting a hot, nutritious lunch, with plenty of protein.
I’ll use the slow cooker and the bread machine on the day I’ll be in town all afternoon. We’ll all come home after ball practice that evening to a hearty meal and fresh, baked bread, ready to be served in just minutes. I’ll have plenty of time to fix dinner Tuesday, though we’ll need to eat early, so I’ll make double and put a pan in the freezer for the next crazy week. I’ll do the same on Friday. I hope to spend some time baking Tuesday, filling my freezer with muffins and cookies to pull out in the days and weeks ahead.
Menu planning is easy, once you get the hang of it, and it can save you time and money. If you’re not sure where to start, or if you need some new ideas, my Menu Planning Series can help.
Here’s our menu for the week.
MONDAY (Company’s coming!)
Breakfast – Waffles
Lunch – Sunrise Casserole, Almond Poppy Seed Toast, Waldorf Salad
Dinner – Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
Breakfast – Cereal
Lunch – Left over Sunrise Casserole, toast
Dinner – Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce (doubled to put a pan in the freezer), Spanish Rice, Green Salad
Breakfast – Cinnamon Raisin Toast, Scrambled Eggs
Lunch – Left over Enchiladas, Fresh Fruit
Dinner – Hearty Beef Stew in the slow cooker (from this wonderful cookbook), Portuguese Sweet Bread
Breakfast – Oatmeal
Lunch – Left over stew, Portuguese Sweet Bread
Dinner – Burritos, Baby Carrots & Ranch Dip
Breakfast – Pancakes
Lunch – Every Man For Himself Who’s At Home
Dinner – Manicotti (with beef, sausage, spinach & ricotta), Toasted Garlic Bread, Green Salad
Lunch – Left over Manicotti
Dinner – Beef & Cheese Nachos
Lunch – Out After Church
Dinner – Wild Dinner (Our term for Sunday evening’s meal of snacks or whatever anyone wants to make for themselves)